Floyd W. Brooks
FLOYD W. BROOKS, a well known farmer of Sheridan township, whose farm lies in section 12, township 31, range 22, was born in Hart County, Kentucky, April 23, 1845. He comes from the old Kentucky family bearing that name and is a son of Rev. Joshua and Margaret (Harper) Brooks, both natives of Hart County, where they grew to maturity and were married.
Rev. Joshua Brooks was a Baptist preacher and for many years preached in his native county, Hart, besides managing the work of the farm. In 1858, after the death of his wife, which occurred some four years earlier, he removed to Jefferson County, Illinois, where he resided 10 years; after a short time spent in his native State, he again moved to Illinois, locating in Washington County. In 1874, Mr. Brooks, with his family started for Kansas, at that time the Mecca of the West. Locating in Cherokee County, he continued to preach the Gospel, while looking after his farming interests, and here he spent the remainder of his life, his death occurring in August, 1891. His life was devoted to work for the Master, whose precepts were his guide in his daily intercourse with others. The purity and kindliness as exemplified in his life, exerted an influence over all he met, and he was loved and revered throughout the county.
Rev. Joshua Brooks' second marriage was to Mahala Gray of LaRue County, Kentucky, who is still living and makes her home with her step-son, Floyd W. Brooks. Rev. Mr. Brooks' family consisted of 11 children, all the issue of the first marriage. Floyd W., the subject of this sketch, and his brother James H. are the only two of the children who reside in Cherokee County.
During the school years of Floyd W. Brooks, there were few available opportunities for acquiring an education. From early boyhood until he was 27 years of age, his life was spent in the hard work of the farm. In 1864 he enlisted in Company D, 60th Reg. Illinois Vol. Inf., at Mount Vernon, Illinois. He was in the 14th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee, and went to Chattanooga, Atlanta and Savannah. At Jonesboro, Georgia, he had his right thumb shot off, and was consequently given an honorable discharge at Louisville, Kentucky, in August, 1865.
After the war, Mr. Brooks returned to Southern Illinois, and in 1869 was married to Lucinda West, a native of Kentucky. To this union were born eight children, as follows: Merritt L., a wagon-maker of Sherman City, Kansas; Lillie Ann, wife of John Smith, of Sheridan township; and Tanserd, Grace, Mary, Rhoda, Hester and Arthur, who live at home.
In the fall of 1870, Floyd W. Brooks came to Kansas, driving through the country with horses and wagon and completing the journey in five weeks. He located on the farm of 80 acres in Sheridan township, Cherokee County, where he now resides. The land, uncultivated and without buildings of any kind, held little encouragement for the newcomer, but he proceeded at once to erect a log cabin, and make for himself and family a home out of the wilderness. In great contrast to that first view of the new home, stands the improved farm of to-day, whose comfortable farm buildings and well cultivated soil speak of the years of perseverance, energy and hard toil spent to good purpose by the owner. The land produces all of the various grains raised on a Western farm, and in the pasture and barns are found the usual stock,cattle, horses, sheep and hogs. Besides being a farmer, Mr. Brooks is a carpenter by trade, and has done a great deal of that work in various parts of the county.
He takes a great interest in politics, for many years voting the Republican ticket, but later becoming a Populist. In religious faith he is a Baptist and is a consistent member of the church. A man of strong character, inheriting many of the traits of his father, he has made for himself an enviable place in the community, his acquaintance extending over the entire county, where he is held in the highest esteem.